The living room and the kitchen all have too many sharp corners, so they go to the bedroom. Cris kicks off his shoes, his socks, shrugs off his jacket and drapes it over the doorknob. He takes the piercing out of his lip and sets it on the windowsill, stands with his legs planted apart and shoves his hands in his pockets.
Ian stares back.
Cris nods at him.
"Take the first shot."
Ian shuffles from one foot to the other, head dropped low. His hands open and close.
"C'mon you fucking pussy, at least pretend you've still got some fucking balls left you worthless"--
Ian steps forward, fists raised, and Cris laughs, shaking his head.
"Well? What're you waiting f"--
The punch catches him squarely in the jaw, snaps his head to the side though his feet stay anchored to the floor. Cris winces, blinks, gives his head a violent shake. He laughs, a hooting, hyena sound.
"That almost hurt."
And then his fist is in Ian's gut before the other knows how to defend, sends him reeling with a shove and trips him flat on his back, Ian half-bouncing off the edge of the spare mattress laid on the ground beneath him. Cris stands over him with his legs on either side, grins and cracks his knuckles.
"Grown a spine yet, faggot?"
Ian scowls through the hair fallen in his face.
He shoves himself forward and then they're fighting, punching and swinging with fists and knees at first, and Ian's dodging and ducking and sooner or later as always he's backed up against the wall, Cris's fist in his shirt and in his face and in his gut, and always it goes like this, after the punches give way to the mad scrabble and hard slam of elbow and knee and everything goes from almost-staged and rehearsed to just fingernails tearing and fists beating blindly down and kicking, always the kicking once Ian's slid from the wall to the ground, always the kicking as he twists and turns and flinches as Cris tries to drag him back up by the arm, as he kicks and kicks and kicks, and then there's only the heavy breathing, the only sound through all the blows and the only thing holding that silence at bay. Ian's never sure when it quite ends: all he knows is that, a long time after they started, there's just the awareness that their breaths are quieting down, and eventually there's just the occasional hard huff and sniff as someone wipes a hand across a bloody nose.
Cris breaks the silence this time with a gasping laugh, head hung between his arms.
Cris gets up eventually, goes into the bathroom. Ian leans his head back gently until it touches the wall in a spot not too tender, sniffs and winces at the sharp pain in his nose. The bleeding's stopped, he thinks. Maybe. He waits, listens to the toilet flush, listens to the water run for a long time.
Eventually Cris gets out, stained towel in one hand. He walks up to Ian, drops the towel--it's wet, heavy--on his bent knee.
"Don't get blood on the floor," is all he says.
Ian takes the towel, dabs beneath his nose carefully. Cris heads for the door and Ian looks up, dredges up a voice through his battered ribs and his bruised neck--
"You said you had my hit"--
"Oh for fuck's sake, later."
Cris stumbles out, voice trailing behind him.
"Just get yourself a beer or something."
Ian frowns, studies the stains he's added to the towel. Holds it up to his nose and breathes in carefully, slowly, but he can't distinguish the blood apart--it all just tastes of metal. He closes his eyes, listens to the throb of his skull. Nothing to feel alive like getting the shit beat out of you, he thinks, but it hurts to smile so he doesn't try.
There's the sound of the radio turned on in the kitchen, the voices reduced to noise as it threads into the bedroom. Ian waits a while longer, until he's sure his nose is not bleeding anymore. He peels himself from the wall and pulls himself slowly, carefully to his feet, towel wrapped around the two scarred remnants of finger that always feel like burning after stuff like this.
He shuffles into the kitchen, pulls open the freezer door in search of something to put on his nose. Cris is lying on the couch with his legs kicked up over the armrest, cold bottle of beer tapping against the coffee table. Ian considers the greasy package of ground beef that's been unwrapped and re-wrapped, ultimately decides against it. No ice in the ice tray.
He takes it out and slides over to the sink, starts to fill it.
"What, moving in already?" Cris's voice sounds too much like the arguing men on the radio, so Ian doesn't respond. He places the ice tray back in the freezer.
Cris makes a scoffing sound, glances around his kicked-up feet.
"The fuck's your problem? You doin' that bad without your fix?"
He pulls his legs back and sits upright, laughs and waves Ian over with the beer bottle.
"Fuck, Junk, it's fine. You look like shit--why don't you spend the night? Bet the boys got some steam to blow off tonight too, and I wouldn't like to see your sorry ass beat up twice in one day."
Ian stands there next to him, hands empty, trying not to sway.
Cris pokes Ian's open hand with the mouth of the beer bottle, pushes it into his hand. "Here."
Ian's fingers close around the cold neck and he lifts it to his mouth, presses the wet rim to his lips. He closes his eyes.
Cris laughs as Ian eases himself slowly into the armchair. "So easy, Junkie."
He crosses his arms behind his head as he lies back down on the couch, closes his eyes.
"But just one night. Got it?"
Ian twists the beer bottle slowly by the neck.
"If I get to know you much better I really will start hating you."
The glass is heavy in his hands, dangling by two fingers and a thumb. His head is even heavier on his shoulders, so he lets it fall forward, lets himself slide.
"Yeah, I know."
He laughs, and it hurts. It hurts and he just keeps on laughing.